Donald Trump is planning to attend what he predicts will be a "fantastic" Tokyo Olympics, despite the delay caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed on Tuesday that the Games, scheduled to start on July 24, would not go ahead as planned due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was made following discussions between IOC president Thomas Bach, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and organisers, though a new date is yet to be announced.

A special task force has been set up to work out the best time to stage the Olympics, though they will be no later than the summer of 2021.

Whenever the Games do take place, United States President Trump – who praised the postponement decision – intends to be there to witness the occasion for himself.

"I think it's going to be a fantastic Olympics, 2021," Trump said during his media briefing on Wednesday.

"I think it's going to be a fantastic Olympics, it was the absolute right decision to delay it for a full year and now have a full, beautiful Olympics.

"It's going to be very important because it's probably the first time maybe ever or certainly in a long time that it was on an odd year, it's always on an even year they tell me, but he's going to have a fantastic success and now they'll have even more time, he didn't need any more time, everything was perfectly ready, what a job they've done.

"I want to congratulate Japan, the IOC and prime minister Abe on a great decision.

"I think it's going to be a fantastic Olympics, I told him I'll be there, I'll be there."

Bach has said "all the options are on the table" when it comes to a new date for the first Olympics to not go ahead as scheduled since the Second World War.

"This is like a huge jigsaw puzzle and every piece has to fit," he said during a conference call. "You take out one piece, the whole puzzle is destroyed.

"Everything has to come together and everything is important. This is why I really do not envy the members of this taskforce in their work."

The Brooklyn Nets defended testing players for coronavirus following backlash, while United States president Donald Trump addressed concerns that professional athletes and well-connected people are receiving priority amid the pandemic.

NBA franchise the Nets were heavily criticised on Tuesday after announcing four players – including injured superstar Kevin Durant – contracted COVID-19.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio took aim at the Nets, insisting "tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick" as the world struggles to contain the virus, which has claimed more than 8,900 lives globally.

The Nets responded to the criticism on Wednesday, with their statement reading: "As we learned NBA players on other teams had tested positive for COVID-19, we noticed that several of our players and staff had symptoms.

"Based on this information, and the judgment that all of our players are subject to high exposure due to the close physical nature of basketball, the communal nature of teams and the possibility of an accelerated spread from team to team, our medical experts advised that our players get tested.

"We sourced the tests through a private company and paid for them ourselves because we did not want to impact access to CDC's public resources. Using the test results, we were able to take immediate precautions and strictly isolate the players who tested positive.

"If we had waited for players to exhibit symptoms, they might have continued to pose a risk to their family, friends and the public. Our hope is that by drawing attention to the critical need for testing asymptomatic positive carriers, we can begin to contain the spread and save lives. We believe it is not only the right thing to do for our players and their families, it is the responsible thing to do from a medical and epidemiological standpoint."

US leader Trump was also asked about the issue during his news conference midweek.

Quizzed on whether "the well-connected go to the front of the line" for coronavirus testing, Trump replied: "No, I wouldn't say so. But perhaps that's the story of life. That does happen on occasion, and I've noticed where people have been tested fairly quickly."

The NBA has been on hiatus since Utah Jazz pair Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell tested positive for COVID-19.

The Jazz were scheduled to face the Oklahoma City Thunder before it was postponed on March 11, prompting the suspension of the league.

Oklahoma City, on Wednesday, announced that all players and staffers returned negative results for COVID-19.

"Recognising the stress on the state of Oklahoma's medical system, the Thunder did not use state resources and chose an alternative path for testing of its personnel," the Thunder said in a statement.

Japan are planning for a "complete" Olympics in front of spectators in July, according to the country's Olympic minister.

Prime minister Shinzo Abe stated on Saturday that the plan remains to stage the Games as intended in July, despite some calls for a postponement, including from United States president Donald Trump.

The International Olympic Commitee (IOC) is due to meet on Tuesday to discuss the Olympics and the qualifying events that have had schedules badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at a news conference, Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto echoed Abe's confidence that the Tokyo Games would be going ahead.

When asked whether the intention is to stage a "complete" Olympics, with fans present and abiding by the schedule, she replied: "That's correct. That's what we are aiming for.

"We will do our utmost to prepare as scheduled so that the International Olympic Committee will be convinced we are capable of hosting the games."

Japan has had 847 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 28 deaths.

Japan are still planning for the Olympic Games to go ahead as planned in July, the country's prime minister Shinzo Abe has said.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the world sporting calendar has seen a host of postponements and cancellations for the upcoming weeks.

Japan has had over 1,400 cases of COVID-19 and 28 deaths but Abe is not yet calling a state of emergency after discussions with experts.

The country will continue to work closely with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which will have the final say on whether Tokyo 2020 – which is due to start on July 24 – goes ahead.

"We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without problem, as planned," said Abe, who added he had not discussed the prospect of postponing the Games in a call with Donald Trump after the United States president publicly suggested a one-year delay.

"We will continue to closely cooperate with IOC and of course IOC is working closely with WHO (the World Health Organization).

"At present, I assess the situation as there is no need to declare a state of emergency.

"The experts evaluated the current situation. [The outbreak] is holding up to a certain extent and has not progressed to an explosive rise of infection spread.

"I would like to take necessary and sufficient economic and financial policies without delay, while carefully monitoring trends in the global economy and anticipating various possibilities."

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike insisted precautions are being taken ahead of the Japan section of the Olympic Torch relay.

Parts of the route in Greece were suspended to prevent crowds gathering while other sections in ancient Olympia went ahead without any spectators.

"We are taking thorough infection measures with regards to the torch relay domestically," she said.

Donald Trump believes the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo should be postponed for a year if the alternative is events taking place behind closed doors.

Major events across the sporting world have been taking action over recent days in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Measures have included major events taking place behind closed doors – something US President Trump does not want to see happen to the Olympics.

"Maybe they postpone it for a year. Maybe they do that, if that's possible. Maybe that's not possible," he told reporters.

"I guess it's never happened with the Olympics, although I think there was interruptions for wars.

"I would say maybe they postpone it for a year.

"I like that better than I like having empty stadiums all over the place. I think if you cancel it, make it a year later, that's a better alternative than doing it with no crowd."

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach insists his organisation remain committed to running Tokyo 2020 as planned.

Speaking at the ceremonial lighting of the Olympic torch in ancient Olympia – an event that took place without spectators as a safety measure in Greece – Bach said:  "What makes us so committed, and where we are encouraged, are the measures being taken by so many governments and authorities around the world to contain the virus, 19 weeks before the Games.

"We are in sport, we are fully committed and I am really encouraging the athletes to go ahead with their preparations and qualifications with full steam.

"Then we will all welcome them to Tokyo to a great Olympic Games."

World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury should accept Donald Trump's invitation to the White House then retire from boxing, his dad John has said.

A seventh-round stoppage of Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas on Saturday ensured Fury won the WBC belt and became a world heavyweight champion for the second time in his career.

The 31-year-old previously beat Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 but vacated the IBF, WBA and WBO titles while he fought depression and drug addiction.

He made his return to the ring in June 2018, shedding more than seven stone in six months, and completed his remarkable turnaround by beating Wilder two and a half years later.

"I just want my son to retire now," John Fury told Good Morning Britain.

"He's done enough. It's been an uphill battle for him.

"I think it's in the back of his mind. He can't do any more. He's won every professional title. Enough is enough. There's more to life now. He's given it his all.

"He's got no more to prove."

Fury has previously said he would "seriously think about walking away" once his current three-fight deal expires.

There are two fights remaining on that contract and one of those would be a third bout against Wilder if the American exercises a rematch clause to fight Fury again.

Saturday's second fight captured the attention of US President Trump, who suggested to reporters he would invite both men to the White House.

"That was a great fight," Trump said.

"Two great fighters, really very exciting. Maybe we have to bring them both to the White House because that was really a good one.

"In fact, I think we'll do that."

Some sports stars have swerved invitations to the White House since Trump assumed office yet Fury Senior encouraged his son to go.

"That's good for a Fury, isn't it," he said of Trump's offer.

"I'm a big fan of Donald Trump. It's been an amazing journey, look where it's ended.

"And what a great point to bow out on - a meeting in the White House."

United States president Donald Trump welcomed MLB World Series champions the Washington Nationals to the White House.

The Nationals' celebrations continued on Monday as Washington took to the White House steps with Trump in DC.

Washington claimed their first World Series in franchise history after topping the Houston Astros in seven games and Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman presented Trump with his own jersey.

"America fell in love with Nats baseball. That's all they wanted to talk about," Trump said amid an impeachment inquiry. "That and impeachment. I like Nats baseball much more."

"For the first time in nearly 100 years, our nation's capital is celebrating a World Series victory," Trump said. "The last time Washington, DC, was home to the World Series champs the president was a man named Calvin Coolidge."

Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle did not attend the ceremony, while Anthony Rendon, Victor Robles, Michael Taylor, Joe Ross, Javy Guerra and Wander Suero were also absent.

Zimmerman praised Trump by saying: "What an unbelievable honour to be here. This is an incredible honour that I think all of us will never forget.

"We'd also like to thank you for keeping everyone here safe in our country, and continuing to make America the greatest country to live in the world."

Trump also embraced Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki, who donned a "Make America Great Again" hat.

"I love him! Awww," Trump said before adding, "I didn't know that was going to happen."

 

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said he prefers Adam Silver's leadership to that of United States president Donald Trump.

Popovich was responding to criticism from Trump, who blasted the Spurs coach and Golden State Warriors counterpart Steve Kerr last week for their responses to questions about the NBA-China controversy.

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey issued an apology for a now-deleted tweet, that read "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong" amid the ongoing protests in the region.

While Popovich and Kerr unwilling to discuss the matter, NBA president Silver drew praise for his response after saying the league was "apologetic" but added that "we are not apologising for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression".

Popovich – who has been critical of Trump in the past – told reporters prior to the Spurs' 123-114 preseason loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday: "[Silver] stood by our nation and its principles. That's pretty huge in these days.

"Sometimes, it's kind of Orwellian. You think we're living in a place where, 'Is this really happening?' But that comparison was pretty stark when you put our president up against those leaders when he's with them or talking to him and how he reacts compared to the way Adam Silver reacted. I was proud of him. It was great."

Asked about Trump's comments, Popovich added: "All I did was make a comparison between Adam Silver's show of principle and courage in a tough situation, as opposed to how our president reacts when in the company of authoritarian figures, whether it's Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Russia or Turkey, whatever it is.

"It comes off as really feckless, impotent, cowardly by comparison."

United States president Donald Trump blasted Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and San Antonio Spurs boss Gregg Popovich for their responses to questions about the NBA-China controversy.

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey issued an apology on Sunday for a now-deleted tweet, that read "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong" amid the ongoing protests in the region.

The issue has highlighted the NBA's relationship with China, which Kerr was noncommittal about on Monday when asked about the fallout from Morey.

Kerr and Popovich have been highly critical of Trump in the past and the country's leader was scathing of the NBA coaches.

"I watched this guy, Steve Kerr, and he was like a little boy who was so scared to be even answering the question," Trump told reporters Wednesday when asked about Kerr's refusal to discuss the issue.

"He couldn't answer the question. He was shaking. 'Oh, I don't know. I don't know.' He didn't know how to answer the question. And yet he'll talk about the United States very badly."

On Popovich – who was also reluctant to discuss the issue of protests in Hong Kong – Trump said: "I watched Popovich. Sort of the same thing, but he didn't look quite as scared actually.

"But they talk badly about the United States, but when it talks about China, they don't want to say anything bad. I thought it was pretty sad actually. It'll be very interesting."

Trump added: "I watch the way that Kerr and Popovich and some of the others were pandering to China, and yet to our own country, it's like they don't respect it.

"It's like they don't respect it. I said, 'What a difference – isn't it sad?' It's very sad. To me, it's very sad."

Made aware of Trump's comments about Kerr, Warriors superstar Stephen Curry – who has also been critical of the US president – replied: "welcome Steve to the club".

President Donald Trump has held talks with FIFA chief Gianni Infantino about how women's football can become "more equitable".

Trump, who openly rowed with star player Megan Rapinoe during the United States' Women's World Cup triumph, met Infantino at the White House.

The US women's national team are embroiled in a long-running battle with US Soccer in a battle to secure pay parity with their male counterparts, a far less successful team on the world stage.

Trump has yet to make his position clear in that argument, but after talks with FIFA president Infantino he said: "Gianni and I just had a meeting on women’s soccer and what everybody’s going to do to make that even better and more equitable, etc etc."

Infantino added: "[In] women's soccer, where you are world champion, there is much more to do. The president was saying this to me and he is right.

"We are working with that and we will announce very soon some new initiatives."

Rapinoe said during the World Cup that she would not visit the White House if President Trump invited the team, triggering an angry response from the Oval Office. Trump suggested she had shown "disrespect" to her country.

The 34-year-old Rapinoe, who is gay and has used her platform to speak out on civil rights matters, refused to sing the US national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, during the World Cup in France. She previously supported NFL star Colin Kaepernick when - in an action that was rebuked by President Trump - he took a knee before games during the anthem in protest at racial injustice in the US.

Rapinoe has also urged Infantino to make his voice heard in the equal-pay dispute.

Trump and Infantino were meeting primarily on Monday to discuss the United States' co-hosting of the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico.

"We are, as you probably know, getting the World Cup in 2026 for the United States," Trump said. "Some of it is a partnership with Mexico and Canada. It's coming into the United States for a large percentage of the games.

"We're very excited about it."

With the start of preseason games just one day away, there are a number of different storylines we are following.

From Colin Kaepernick making his first public comments since settling his collusion case against the NFL, to Kenny Stills calling out the Miami Dolphins owner for hosting a fundraiser for United States president Donald Trump.

We take a look at the top headlines in this edition of NFL news and notes. 

 

Three things that matter

Stills calls out Dolphins owner for hosting president Trump fundraiser

Dolphins receiver Stills is known to be outspoken about important social issues. He called out team owner Stephen Ross' motivation on Wednesday after finding out he was hosting a Trump fundraiser luncheon later this week.

Stills expressed his displeasure on Twitter, writing: "You can't have a non-profit with this mission statement [and] then open your doors to Trump." The mission he was referring to was Ross' RISE Foundation, which states: "The foundation is a national non-profit that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations."

Kaepernick sends message to NFL teams

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick has not played since the 2016 season, but he is not ready to give up on making a return to the NFL. Kaepernick posted an intense workout video to his Twitter account midweek, with the caption: "5am. 5 days a week. For 3 years. Still Ready." The footage shows Kaepernick lifting weights in the gym, bench pressing and doing push-ups as well as triceps pull-downs and dips. 

The video marks Kaepernick's first public comment about his future since settling his collusion case against the NFL and its ownership in February. In the grievance, Kaepernick, who was the first player to kneel during the national anthem to protest social and racial inequality, accused NFL owners of colluding to keep him out of the game. 

Giants QB plan will 'reveal itself'

The New York Giants' quarterback situation will be an interesting one to watch this season as veteran Eli Manning enters his 16th season with the franchise and rookie Daniel Jones works to find his place. Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said New York's quarterback plan will "reveal itself" in the team's preseason opener, though he hinted there is a possibility Jones could start over Manning. 

"He's a guy that will play," Shurmur said. "I can tell you that for sure."

Thursday's preseason game against the New York Jets will give many a first look at Jones, who is expected to start the season behind Manning on the Giants' depth chart. Running back Saquon Barkley has been impressed by the rookie, saying, "You can see his fire and competitiveness on the field."

Two things that don’t matter

Patriots rookie QB Stidham impressing at camp

Rookie quarterback Jarrett Stidham is turning heads at the New England Patriots' training camp. He reported July 21 along with other rookies, and MassLive.com notes "no one has shown more growth than Stidham." He went eight for eight during a joint practice between New England and the Detroit Lions, and Stidham has a 68 per cent completion rate through 10 practices. For comparison: Tom Brady is at 58 per cent.

But, Stidham likely will not see much action during the regular season as a rookie. He joins the Patriots amid speculation around Brady's long-term future with New England, but there is no indication Stidham will replace Brady anytime soon.

Ramsey names two teams he'd consider if he leaves Jaguars

Jalen Ramsey named a couple of destinations he has in mind if he leaves the Jacksonville Jaguars — the Tennessee Titans and the Oakland Raiders. Ramsey has stated in the past that he wants to stay in Jacksonville, but he recently said he does not think the Jaguars will offer him the amount of money he is looking for.

There has been talk about Ramsey's long-term future with the Jaguars for a while now as trade speculation started last season, though the team quickly shot those rumours down. Ramsey said earlier this offseason that he does not think he will receive an extension in 2019.

One video you have to see

The Cleveland Browns are going to be an intriguing team to watch this season as quarterback Baker Mayfield and receiver Odell Beckham Jr. have made a dominant duo at camp.

Wednesday tweet of the day

During an autograph session with fans, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees names his favourite sports movies.

United States forward Megan Rapinoe has echoed Serena Williams' comments on equal pay amid the Women's World Cup winners' ongoing fight for parity with the men's team.

Rapinoe scored the opening goal as USA beat Netherlands 2-0 in the World Cup final to retain their title during a tournament where the 34-year-old became a global icon.

The attacker also had a war of words with US president Donald Trump during the tournament in France after saying she was "not going to the f****** White House".

American players have been embroiled in an argument over equal pay with governing body U.S. Soccer for many years.

After losing the Wimbledon final to Simona Halep on Saturday, tennis great Williams bristled at a suggestion she should scale back her efforts to fight equal pay in order to concentrate on matching Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam singles titles.

And Rapinoe, speaking in an interview on NBC on Sunday, backed her fellow American and insisted she will also not be changing her outspoken approach.

"You know what? I'm gonna fight for equal pay every day, for myself, for my team, and for every single person out there," said Rapinoe.

"Man, woman, immigrant, US citizen, person of colour, whatever it may be. 'Equal pay,' as the great Serena Williams said, 'til I'm in my grave'."

Rapinoe, whose partner is basketball player Sue Bird, also defended her previous comments on Trump when asked what she would say to her fans who support the president and believe she should go to the White House.

She added: "I would try to share our message. Do you believe that all people are created equal? Do you believe that equal pay should be mandated?

"Do you believe that everyone should have health care? Do you believe that we should treat everyone with respect? Those are the basics of what we're talking about.

"I understand people feel upset or uncomfortable. There's feelings of disrespect about the anthem protest or things that I've said in the past. Ultimately, I am here, open and honest.

"I've admitted mistakes. I will continue to do that. I'll continue to be vulnerable and be honest and open and have that conversation."

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